November 8th marked the kickoff of the Urban Action Showcase weekend in New York City. It was presented by Mr. Demetrius Angelo of ASC Productions. The event was to be a celebration of action and martial arts film for all people of color, as well as a celebration of diversity in film-making, and it delivered. The main exhibition was hosted at the New York Hilton and peripheral events were at the HBO building, and AMC’s Times Square Theater.
In attendance were some of the best in the business. Most notably Michael Jai White, of “Spawn”, new wave cult classic “Black Dynamite”, and “Blood And Bone” along with Kelly Hu, the two currently star on the WB’s “Arrow” as Bronze Tiger and China White respectively. Ms. Hu is also well known for her role as Lady Deathstrike in X2. Also in attendance were Fred “The Hammer” Williamson and “The Black Dragon” Ron Van Cleef, both known for a plethora of action roles in the 1970’s and 80’s. Bobby Samuels, Vincent Lyn, and Michael Woods from the Hong Kong film market, working with such greats as Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, and Donnie Yen; Taimak, who rose to prominence for his role in Berry Gordy’s “The Last Dragon”, Clayton Prince, and the list goes on.
Among the high points of the festival, director Isaac Florentine premiered his new film “Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear” to rave reviews. Also Director Kaloni Davis premiered his film “Last Days The Saga: Torment” in Times Square, another excellent indie film. Bobby Samuels also announced his upcoming directorial debut, helming the upcoming action flick “Beast” to be co-directed by Last Days’ director Kaloni Davis, and up and coming screenwriter Rob Jefferson.
Conference goers were also treated to some of the best in indie action comics like Roderick Paulus’ “Nowhere Man”, as well as “Indigo” and “Bronx Heroes”. Robert Garrett also premiered his short film and comic of the same name “Inheritors”, which was also very cool.
Friday night’s activities were topped off by a posh gala affair at the HBO building that included a welcome video and a lineup of the guests, exhibitors, and honorees. Also among the high notes were master classes by Grandmaster Ron VanCleef and a professional seminar conducted by director Isaac Florentine (Undisputed 1 & 2) and screenwriter Ben Ramsey.
For die-hard action fans and film junkies there were some great panels too, Warrington Hudlin hosted, bringing his filmic expertise as well as his own delirious sense of fandom. There was the “Lights, Camera, Action” panel featuring Vincent Lyn, Bobby Samuels, Michael Woods, and Clayton Prince and the “Urban Fists of Legend” panel featuring Michael Jai White, screen legends Fred Williamson and Ron VanCleef, and screenwriter Ben Ramsey. The “Angels of Action” panel was also a lot of fun, and fun to watch, it featured up and coming ladies of indie action films including Ellen Mah, Tina Duong, Kylie Fox, Teresa Nash, Trace Lysette, Jessica Locke, Denise Christine, Aimée Watson, Jeanna Lue and more.
All in all, it was a great event and everyone had a good time, celebrities and fans alike. I can’t wait to see how great this event will be next year and in the future, as this is certainly an idea long overdue. Next up is Sifu Alan Goldberg’s event in Atlantic City, which begins January 24th, and we are definitely looking forward.
I would personally like to thank Robert “Bobby” Samuels for sending me the information for this great event and wish him and the rest of the people involved a great future in the movie industry.
Source:Robert L. Jefferson